NFL fans who don’t pay close attention to the details love to use the Jacksonville Jaguars as a punchline over attendance issues. EverBank Field is unlikely to be filled on a regular basis as the team looks to dig out of a 2-14 season.
But critics looking for a blackout poster boy will have to steer clear of North Florida. The team hasn’t had a blackout since Dec. 13, 2009.
While ticket sales are off last year’s pace and expensive club seats don’t count in the blackout equation, team president Mark Lamping has guaranteed that every game will be on local TV this season.
From Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union:
“(Lamping) can make that guarantee because teams can write a check for 34 percent of the cost of the unsold non-premium seats to avoid blackouts.
Last year, the Jaguars sold all of the non-premium seats and didn’t have to buy any.
“We’re not planning on doing that this year, either,’’ Lamping said. “First, there won’t be any blackouts. We can put that aside. Our goal last year was not to buy any tickets. That’s our goal this year and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to achieve that.’’
No blackouts and no ticket issues are not the same thing. And with the games on TV, empty swaths of seats in the club areas don’t look good.
You won’t hear any talk from inside team headquarters complaining about the challenges of the market.
Stellino cites a message owner Shad Khan delivered recently about that possibility.
“I think it’s not about Jacksonville. It’s about leadership of the Jaguars,’’ Khan said. “We’ve got to have the value proposition so the fans want to come out and support the team. I put it all on the leadership of the team. We’ve got to reach out to the fans [and say], ‘Please come out and spend your hard-earned money on us.’’’